DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC|03 JUN 2021|RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

03 June 2021 - Thrusday

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

Adverse changes, federalism imperilled

The Hindu

2

How to restart schools

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Palestine flays India’s abstention from U.N. Human Rights Council vote

Syllabus–GS 2: IR

Analysis: –

  • India’s abstention from the latest resolution on the Palestinian issue suppresses human rights of “all people”, Palestine’s Foreign Minister Dr. Riad Malki has said.
  • In an unusually strong letter sent to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on May 30, Dr. Malki said the resolution titled “Ensuring respect for international human rights law and humanitarian law in Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem and in Israel” was a product of long years of multilateral negotiation.
  • India had condemned the death of an Indian citizen in the rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza but in a rare United Nations Security Council meeting on May 17, Permanent Representative TS Tirumurti expressed India’s support to the “just Palestinian cause”.
  • India has maintained that two-state solution to equal sovereign rights is the way forward to resolve the century old crisis.
  • However, on May 27, India abstained from voting on the resolution, which is aimed at securing Israel’s compliance with international human rights.

In Nashik’s Buddhist caves complex, a chance new find

Syllabus – GS 2: Government Policy

Analysis: –

  • Almost two centuries after a British military officer documented the Trirashmi Buddhist caves — also known as Pandav Leni — in a hill in Nashik, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found three more caves in the same area.
  • The antiquity of the caves — which may have been dwellings of Buddhist monks — is yet to be established; archaeologists studying them, however, believe they could be older than the Trirashmi caves.
  • The Trirashmi or Pandav Leni caves are a group of 25 caves that were carved out of Trirashmi Hill between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.
  • The caves complex was documented in 1823 by one Captain James Delamaine; it is now an ASI protected site and a tourist destination.
  • ASI officials said the first two caves were discovered during the annual pre-monsoon cleaning of a drainage line on the hill.
  • Patel was looking for a place to dump the soil, dry grass and dry wood that had been removed, when he spotted a cavity.

Mains Analysis

Adverse changes, Federalism Imperilled

Why in News?

There needs to be a federal coalition to preserve the idea of a plural India, in terms of culture and politics.

Syllabus— GS 2: Centre state relations, Federalism

________________________________________

  • When Dr. Vinod K. Paul, NITI Aayog Member (Health), asserted last week that it was the lack of centralisation that has led to poor management of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive, States joined issue with this statement.
  • Going by the response to this assertion from State governments, it was clear that this claim was not backed by good evidence.
  • Not many could have misread the subtext of this claim for centralisation. It lies within, and simultaneously contributes to, a narrative and practice of the growing centralisation of power by the current government.
  • This sits well with the growing incursions of the Union government into sectors where State governments have a primary responsibility to govern such as health, education and agriculture.
  • Slogans such as ‘one nation-one tax, one market and one ration’ are again part of such appeals to a narrative of a strong nation state rather than one of governance.

Union encroachment

  • Inpost independent India, the Centre, on several occasions, has used its powers to dismiss democratically elected governments.
  • During the Emergency, education was moved to the Concurrent list which was until then a State subject under the constitutional division of responsibilities.
  • It is seen that there has been increasing centralisation in resource allocations and welfare interventions.
  • The shortfall of GST and the Centre’s lackadaisical response to demands for compensation by State governments are known.
  • The Centre has been accused of encroaching into domains under State government control through centrally sponsored schemes in sectors such as education and health where States are required to spend about 85% and 82% of public expenditure, respectively.

 State-capital Relations

  • The author argues that there has been consolidation and expansion of a few big business groups seen to be close to the central ruling party, at the expense of smaller players.
  • Insulating Indian big business from global competition by choosing not to enter into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • The writer says that it has eroded the power of small businesses through support for GST and the call for a single national market.
  • Regional parties tend to rely on regionspecific rent thick sectors for political funding such as mining and real estate.
  • The author alleges that the central ruling party has sought to curtail this through a levelling of corruption allegations and the use of central agencies to keep regional parties in check.

 Institutional Transgression

  • Another challenge is in the use of executive and legislative aggression.
  • Central institutions are increasingly weakening the policy levers of State institutions.
  • Institutions such as the Income Tax Department, the Enforcement Directorate and the National Investigation Agency are being used to intimidate opponents.
  • Direct transfers to beneficiaries of welfare schemes bypassing States are also contributing to this factor.
  • Centre is increasingly ignoring elected representatives of State governments, holding meetings with State secretaries and district collectors on issues that are primarily under State control.
  • Recent example was a recent meeting by Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank with State Education Secretaries on implementation of the New Education Policy.
  • This trend is evident in the domain of health as well. National lockdown  was imposed during the first wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic without consulting State governments
  • The Centre has now put State governments at a disadvantage in vaccine usage by fixing differential pricing for procuring vaccines for them. This forces State governments to pay more even as they are deprived of their revenue shares.

Socio-cultural Foundation

  • According to Partha Chatterjee, “beside the legal constitutional aspects of federalism, it is diversity in cultural foundation of regions that sustains Indian federalism.”
  • However, this diversity is being challenged at present. Markers of regional identities and regional sociocultural practices are now interpreted as belonging to a pan Indian Hindu tradition.
  • ‘Dravidian’ is attacked as a creation of the British with support from Christian missionaries, emptying the term of its anticaste politics.

Way Forward: –

  • This erosion of federal relations is often countered through appeals to restore the constitutional powers of States. However, history tells us that such calls may not amount to much in the absence of regional political assertion.
  • Constitutional powers including fiscal relations are inherently biased towards the Centre.
  • Vesting of all residuary powers with the Centre and giving overruling powers to the Centre on matters in the Concurrent list are the primary sources of this bias.
  • What is seldom recognised is that the degree of federalism in India has depended largely on two variables: the nature of political coalitions at the Centre and role of States in such coalitions (the period 1996 to 2014 for example), and the cultural diversity of regions.
  • Hence, what is needed is a federal coalition that looks beyond the legal-constitutional aspects of federalism to preserve the idea of a plural India in terms of both culture and politics.

 

Question: –

The financially stretched state governments stare at a massive expenditure for the Covid vaccination drive as the second wave of the pandemic sweeps the country, claiming the lives and livelihoods of millions. The raging pandemic has left in its wake a severe shortage of vaccines, medicines and oxygen.

How to Restart Schools

Why in News?

The pandemic has disrupted India’s education system and widened the existing digital divide.

Syllabus—GS2: Issues related to Education Sector

Background: –

  • The pandemic has disrupted India’s education system & widened the existing digital divide.
  • Govt to strike a balance between lives & livelihoods rightly focused on enhancing health infra & vaccination but ignored educational importance.
  • As govt plans to open educational institutions, India needs to evolve a countrywide model framework because
  • India can’t vaccinate 70% of the population by 2021.
  • Majority of the population lack internet connectivity which can result in loss of the academic year for the vulnerable.
  • India needs to have different strategies for rural & govt schools vis-à-vis private schools.
  • In rural areas, many govt schools have to open up because of a lack of access to online education.
  • Also, missing midday meals are exacerbating nutritional deficiencies

Opening up education institutions:

  • As per data, in India, there are around 6 million education sector employees.
  • As govt opened up vaccinations for 18+ age groups, India needs to prioritize vaccinations for school & college teachers mainly in rural India. Because
  • Thousands of teachers got infected by COVID & many of them died mainly due to election duties.
  • The 3rd wave could strike after educational institutions reopen.
  • By then Teachers & staff become victims.
  • As most of the urban teachers are vaccinated, the need is to focus on vaccinating rural school & college teachers.

Starting school with 50% strength for 5 days/week

  • By ensuring each student stays home for 9 days after attending school.
  • Even if a student gets infected, the 9-day break will break the chain of transmission.

 

  • Schools with good internet access for all students can continue classes in online mode.

 

  • But the need is to vaccinate 18+ students as soon as possible

Board Examinations:

  • As center canceled the board examinations considering the followings things:
  • Given the pandemic has placed the safety of students & parents at the mountain cliff.
  • The digital divide handicapped the vulnerable sections of students who did not have access to online classes.
  • But even then some states desired to conduct the examinations. But following steps need to be taken for ensuring safety:
  • Conduct the examinations in the shortest possible time.
  • Conduct examinations for two maximum of six days without any break.
  • All teachers on examination duty must have been fully or partially.
  • Similarly, secondary board exams can be conducted but for only 3-4 main subjects.
  • Only 50% weightage should be given for this exam & other 50 % to previous year’s performance.

Way Forward: –

Minimizing the digital divide to create accessibility & availability of internet connectivity for rural India.

The need is to have a combination of selective & targeted vaccination strategies & controlled opening of educational institutions

Govt needs to digitize school education in a phased manner by distributing tablets or IPad’s for school students.

With minimized digital divide alone in times of pandemic, any nation can provide equal opportunity to its wards, making their contribution to the nation’s prosperity effectively.

Question: –

Discuss how the pandemic has disrupted India’s education system and widened the existing digital divide. What are different strategies for rural and government schools vis-a-vis the better equipped urban and private schools?

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